Humps (500Words, Round 3, Day 10, 2/23/18)

Have you ever met a camel? A real one, out in the desert, or only one trapped behind bars in a zoo?

People underestimate them from a distance. They think their only important trait is their ability to go long lengths of time without water. Camels are used by people in ways that benefit only the person with very little care for what the animal wants. Sounds painfully familiar, really.

We have a lot in common. That’s where I got my name. Humps. I hate it. All of us had animal names back then. It was his way of defining us, of reminding us who was in charge. He thought he was being clever. He thought he was the smartest one in the room, all the time. Only assholes think that. No, wait. Only dumb assholes think that, and he was, without a doubt, the dumbest asshole I’ve ever met.

He was dumb, and an asshole, and in control. It didn’t matter that there was only one of him. One thing he did know how to do was break people. He had built himself a domesticated herd of wounded animals, beholden to him for safety.

I was one of the last to be trapped. He lured me in so easily – he’d had a lot of practice at that point. It didn’t happen all at once, of course. He took his time, sizing up his prey from a distance before making contact. Covering himself in camouflage and familiar scents to mask his hunger. Building up trust slowly until he could approach slowly, using a delicate touch to soothe.

I didn’t realize what was happening until it was too late. It was as if I blinked and was trapped – given a new, demoralizing name, surrounded by other wounded animals who needed care, and removed from everything I thought I understood.

He named me Humps. Because he said I reminded him of camels – tall, slow-moving, good for riding and carrying things, didn’t drink much. And because of my breasts.

He was a hunter who misunderstood his prey. He only knew about camels from movies. He only knew them on the surface. He had no idea that, on my better days, I liked to imagine myself as a camel. He didn’t know that camels are these huge, majestic, creatures that are full of personality. A lot of personality. They’re feisty, and playful, and can take control of a situation.

He only saw the surface me. He saw an aloof person without attachments. He saw a weak girl who would go weeks without tending to her own needs. He saw a swayable girl who did for others before doing for herself. He saw my large breasts on my small frame. He saw a camel, the way he imagined them to be. He saw what he wanted to see – what fit into his idea of what a girl in his collection could be. He had no idea what he’d brought into his lair, into his life.

*This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to persons real or imagined is unintentional

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